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Men's track and field takes second place at ECAC Championships

Chris Murtagh '11, Ethan Waldman '11 and Rich McNeil '10 all notched personal bests in the discus throw for a combined 19 team points. (Photo by Ira Waldman '73)









SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- Led by an outstanding individual performance by senior Rich McNeil, the Bates College men's track and field team took second place out of 48 scoring teams at the ECAC Division III Track and Field Championships on Friday. The result matches the team's best-ever finish at ECACs with the 2004 squad, since Bates began participation in the meet in 2001.

The Bobcats scored 56 points and stood in first place in the meet until Williams passed them with 58 points on the strength of a first-place showing in the final event of the meet, the 4x400 relay. Moravian and Springfield tied for third with 54 points each, and Amherst rounded out the top five with 52.

McNeil (Lawrence, Mass.), junior Chris Murtagh (Rowley, Mass.) and junior Ethan Waldman (Playa del Rey, Calif.) took first, third and sixth places, respectively, in the penultimate event of the meet, the discus throw. McNeil sent the discus 166 feet and 6 inches, a personal record, while Murtagh notched a top throw of 158-05 and Waldman went 153-09 for a combined 19 team points. All three athletes notched personal records in the event, and McNeil and Murtagh reached provisional qualifications for the NCAAs. McNeil moved to No. 2 on Bates' all-time list in the discus, while Murtagh and Waldman reached fourth and eighth, respectively, on the list.

McNeil also won the shot put at 50-2.5, a day after placing second in the hammer throw (and meeting automatic qualification for the NCAA Championships). Waldman placed eighth in the shot at 47-3.75.

Meanwhile, junior Brett Epler (Wellesley, Mass.) placed second in the decathlon with 5,873 points, moving up from fifth place after the first day. Highlights of the event's second day for Epler included a javelin throw of 146-00, second best in the field of nine athletes, and a 4:40.80 in the 1,500, third best in the field. Epler had a very strong first day in the decathlon on Thursday, leading all nine competitors in the 400-meter dash (51.71 seconds) and taking third in both the 100 (11.76) and high jump (5-10.5).

Bates also finished in ninth place, one place away from scoring, in the 4x100-meter relay, defying their No. 14 seeding heading in, as senior Nicolas DeFrancis (Norwich, Vt.), junior Ryan Quinn (Watertown, Mass.), junior Pat Carroll (North Andover, Mass.) and first-year Tim Woods (Westfield, N.J.) finished in 43.51 seconds.

Bates' 4x400 relay team of DeFrancis, sophomore Peter Corcoran (Stillwater, Minn.), Quinn and first-year James LePage (Cumberland, Maine) ran a season best time of 4:21 for 10th place.

Thursday Recap

Rich McNeil met automatic qualification for the NCAA Championships in the hammer for the first time in his career on Thursday, highlighting the first day of the ECAC Division III Track and Field Championships for the Bobcat men's team. McNeil threw the hammer 187 feet and 5 inches on his fifth throw to take the lead in the event. He wound up second out of 21 competitors after Keene State's Bryan Kolacz passed him on his final throw at 187-10.

Chris Murtagh placed fifth in the hammer at 173-01 to score four additional team points for Bates. Murtagh also finished eighth in the javelin throw at 181-07.

First-year Andrew Wortham (Newton, Mass.) finished fourth in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:28.56, less than five seconds from the personal-best time of 9:23.77 he ran at New Englands, which met provisional qualification for the NCAA Championships.